The number of reports filed under the College’s Title IX policy increased by 35 percent over the past two years, according to a July 21 email from Samantha Hughes, the Title IX coordinator of Kenyon.
Since 2015, the Office for Civil Rights received 216 reports in total. Hughes wrote in the student info email, “Although it is difficult to attribute this increase to any one factor, it may reflect an increase in familiarity with the civil rights office, comfort with the staff, and/or knowledge of the campus civil rights policies.”
She also announced updates to the Title IX & Intimate Partner Violence Policy, which were implemented in response to the investigation of Kenyon’s Title IX compliance conducted in December of 2016 by Rebecca Veidlinger, an independent investigator.
The new policy includes definitions of penetrative intercourse and non-penetrative intercourse, a clarification of prohibited behaviors and additions to the retaliation section, which details attempts to take action against those involved in an investigation, such as social aggression, damage to property and interference with an investigation. “We were trying to pull out and highlight aspects of the policy that weren’t clear,” Hughes said.
Hughes worked with members of Student Council’s Title IX subcommittee and students on the LGBTQ+ advisory committee last semester to increase the policy’s transparency and address the needs of non-cisgender and non-heterosexual students.
The updated policy also expanded the list of off-campus resources for students.
“The policy has always protected [every student] but I don’t think initially it was as clear because we got that feedback loud and clear from students, faculty and certainly the audit,” Hughes said.
Anna Libertin ’18, a member of both the Title IX subcommittee and LGBTQ+ advisory committee, commented on the importance of language in the policy: “[Using] certain verbs and nouns has potential to influence the safety and protection of a student’s life and body,” Libertin said. “The office’s focus on ‘getting things right,’ particularly for the experiences of some LGBTQ+ students, communicates a thoughtfulness and care that hopefully leads to even more productive student-administration collaboration.”